Intervention #4 – Alissa

Millions of Americans struggle with addiction every day. According to the National Council on Problem Gambling (n.d), about 2 million American adults fall under the criteria of pathological gamblers. Another 4-6 million, which is about 2-3 percent of U.S. adults, are considered problem gamblers. Overall, about 85 percent of U.S. adults have tried gambling at least once in their whole lives. Exploring gambling addiction, Intervention#4 is a real-life television show that highlights the lives of people dependent on alcohol, drugs, and other destructive behaviors such as gambling and sex addiction and the intervention procedures applied to save them. Focusing on gambling addiction, Alissa is a 24 years old college student living in Michigan, who is addicted to the 25-slot machines.

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Just like millions of gamblers in the United States, Alissa is addicted to gambling, and as she explains, it makes her feel alive and good. Alissa keeps on hoping that she will get another bonus. Alissa is a compulsive gambler. According to compulsive gambling addiction is a problem affecting the individual behavior, thus increasing their pre-occupation with gambling and overshadows everything else in their life. As Henden, Melberg, and Røgeberg, (2013) explain, compulsive behavior is paradoxical and seems to involve deliberate and goal-oriented behavior triggered by some external factors and autonomous of practical deliberation. Additionally noted, despite the knowledge of the individual on the negative impacts associated with their behavior, the addict finds it hard to stop. Alissa understands that she has a problem, unfortunately the hope of winning the jackpot keeps her hooked to the act.

Gambling addiction is a progressive addiction with several negative physical, social, and psychological impacts on the individual and the society. According to Jazaeri and Bin (2012), the problem can lead to serious problems such as job loss, failed relationships, and severe debt. Alissa’s addiction makes her feel good and feels alive. Alissa’s gambling addiction is tearing her family apart and driven her friends away. So far, Alissa has lost over $30,000 on 25-cent slots and bounced more than $5,000 in checks. Her parents, especially her father has been struggling with debts incurred by Alissa in her gambling expedition. Her boyfriend has to take three jobs to provide for her. Unfortunately, just like other gamblers who keep on gambling despite losing, the buzz to win keeps on bringing Alissa back. She believes that someone has to win the jackpot and keeps on hoping that it will be her. The gambling problem is also reflected in her lack of a job.

For a gambling addiction individual, intervention and treatments are available. To get her started on the path to recovery, Alissa’s parents and boyfriend consulted a professional who recommended taking everything from her and enrolling her in psychotherapy just like a drug rehabilitation center. Unfortunately, when Alissa learned that she was to go to a residential gambling rehab center as opposed to her choice of outpatient care, she refused and opted staying in the streets. However, when she realized that her parents and boyfriend would not change their mind, she agreed but on condition, that she first researched the rehab center. Alissa’s issue is not unique as most addicts find it hard adjusting to the rehabilitation lifestyle; however, it is important to convince them to get treatment keeping in mind the severity of the problem.


Henden, E., Melberg, H. O., & Røgeberg, O. J. (2013). Addiction: choice or compulsion?. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 4(77), 1-11.

Jazaeri, S. A., & Bin, H. M. H. (2012). Reviewing two types of addiction – Pathological gambling and substance use. Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, 34(1), 5-11.

National Council on Problem Gambling. (n.d). Help & Treatment: Faq. Retrieved from:

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